Did you see this? Big name Twitter celebs like Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, and others died a “digital death” today. The idea was orchestrated by Alicia Keys in efforts to raise $1 Million for World AIDS Day and the charity Keep a Child Alive. It’s a great cause to support and is certainly drawing a lot of attention to a great charity. However, I can’t help but wonder if this is the most effective use of social media. It seems to me this defeats the whole purpose of social media; the whole point is to engage, communicate, and connect with followers. If you’re not able to do that, how are you generating buzz that this is going on?

Essentially, they are relying on the hype before the event and traditional media coverage of it. Yes, the coverage has been decent, and the story was picked up and talked about on some major news outlets (like Steven Colbert). But will this buzz continue to drive them to their $1 Million dollar goal? And there is always the risk of a huge PR backfire. Are tweeps really that upset that they aren’t hearing what Kim, Justin, or Gaga are up to all day? Or does this go unnoticed? Yes, these celebrities are active on Twitter, but often times it can be days before they send tweets out. And, what happens if it takes them a week to reach their goal? Or worse, what if they DON’T reach their goal? In the words of Steven Colbert, let’s raise $999,999-keep the celebrities off Twitter and raise a ton of money. Best of both worlds!

I think it’s a good idea to get celebrities to rally around a cause; and even better when you can use social media to help promote it. But in the case of “dying a digital death”, I think it’s a #fail.

~Christina Torri, Social Media Coordinator